|Page 2 of 4 < >|
U.S. tightens no-fly rules after suspect in failed Times Square attack succeeds in boarding plane
In Pakistan, a senior official said authorities are zeroing in on a man they arrested Tuesday without incident in the southern port city of Karachi. Mohammed Rehan was picked up at a mosque with known links to the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group. Five Americans currently on trial on charges of plotting terrorist attacks in Pakistan were also alleged to have connections to the group.
According to the official, Rehan is the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Peshawar and traveled with Shahzad to that northwestern Pakistani city last July. He described Rehan as an acquaintance, rather than a good friend, of Shahzad's and said Rehan was one of the people Shahzad was in touch with as he was becoming radicalized.
A Pakistani intelligence official said Rehan "helped" Shahzad during his visit to Peshawar, but it was unclear whether Shahzad connected with the main Pakistani Taliban umbrella group on the trip.
Another man arrested in Karachi was Iftikhar Ahmed Mian. There were conflicting reports about whether he is the father-in-law of Shahzad or of Tausif Ahmed, a friend of Shahzad's who was also detained Tuesday.
The Pakistani official said seven or eight people were arrested in Karachi, some of them relatives of Shahzad's.
However, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik has denied that any arrests related to the Times Square case have been carried out in Pakistan.
Malik told reporters Wednesday that Pakistan would offer help to the U.S. investigation if asked, a request that U.S. officials said has not yet been formally made.
Malik said Shahzad had traveled to Pakistan a total of 13 times and that his wife had lived in Saudi Arabia at some point.
Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, Pakistan's chief military spokesman, said in an interview that Pakistani agencies "are probing, but they haven't been able to conclude or establish any links" between Shahzad and Pakistani militant groups yet. Abbas expressed doubt about the ability of the Pakistani Taliban to carry out attacks in the United States, noting that the group had falsely made such claims in the past.
"I'm very skeptical," Abbas said. "They have limited capability, limited reach." He said he had heard nothing at all about links to Jaish-e-Mohammed.
A U.S. official in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, said American investigators had not yet concluded that Shahzad had any sort of militant connections in Karachi.
According to CNN, a Pakistani Taliban spokesman denied Wednesday that the group has any link to Shahzad, but he asserted that Taliban fighters have been sent to the United States and would soon make their mark.